The Phoenix Suns have figured out the concept of tanking. Sit your best player when it is absolutely necessary.
While it is not a popular topic to discuss with players and coaches, and management wouldn’t say anything out in public, but the Suns stretching their losing streak to eight-games this week with losses to the Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors, is good for the future of the franchise.
I keep writing this as have my colleagues here at Sun-N-Gun.com, but Phoenix has the potential to earn a third pick in the draft for their own efforts and possibly the 13th pick if the Los Angeles Lakers miss the postseason.
While this won’t be enough by itself to constitute a rebuild of the team and bring it to prominence once again, it will be a good start, and hopefully, with an extremely young team next year, can be bad enough to vie for the rights to current high school phenoms Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker, who are projected to be future all-stars in the NBA, after going one-and-done in college, because of their superior talent.
In terms of the eighth slot out west, the Lakers currently have a half a game lead on the Jazz, while Dallas is three games back of L.A. Four of the six teams standing in Kobe Bryant’s way of a playoff berth are Western Conference playoff teams. The Jazz only have five games left on the slate and three are against West playoff teams.
The Cavaliers have seven games left on their schedule with four against bad teams and the other three against the Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks who are or will be resting their stars for the playoffs after securing their spot in the playoffs. Phoenix has six games left and four of them are either trying to struggle and make the playoffs or are jockeying for key seeding after getting in to the postseason.
With a half game lead, it seems like the Suns will get the number three draft pick in this off-season’s NBA draft, unless they go on some crazy winning streak, which would be like them, since in reality they need to lose.
Two other tidbits were the emergence of players and the mental engagement of Michael Beasley. In the second half of the season Wesley Johnson has come out of nowhere to supplant Shannon Brown and Jared Dudley as Phoenix’s starting shooting guard, for the time being. They were trying to see what they had in him and he has shown his potential if given big minutes, which bodes well for him staying in the valley of the sun.
Also, interesting is the Beasley experience. In the last week he has played well, and even having his head coach say he had the most complete game, despite underwhelming numbers. This all signifies that Beasley’s contributions are not all offensive and it’s not a matter of his physical ability or shooting mechanics. It is just in his head. As shown by his last couple games and standing up for Dragic against Ryan Hollins, Beasley has seemed to turn a corner. Hopefully that ups his trade value come the off-season.